Profiles of Santa Monica Symphony Members
'Thirty Year Veterans" Left to right. Cellist Robert Godfrey, cellist Nancy Friedmann; flutist Judy Karinen; violinist David Bendett; and violinist Innis Richards. These veteran orchestra members have served an average of 32 years with the symphony, from Innis Richards who has performed for 44 years to Nancy Friedmann who joined the orchestra 24 years ago.
BOB GODFREY first joined the orchestra as a tympanist and now volunteers as stage manager.
NANCY (BUBAR) FRIEDMANN joined the orchestra as a young teaching therapist for deaf children and has since married, raised four children, formed her own string quartet, and commutes weekly to symphony rehearsals from her home in Long Beach.
JUDY KARINEN joined the orchestra as a college student who then completed her Dental School studies (and never missed a rehearsal!), married, started a family, and has established her own private dental practice.
DAVID BENDETT, a native of New York, now serves as the orchestra's Executive Director, negotiating all contracts and handling every last minute crisis such as finding final dress rehearsal space when all facilities were suddenly closed after the earthquake.
INNIS RICHARDS joined the orchestra as a young bride, raised a family, worked as a physical therapist, and became and outstanding community service volunteer. Innis serves as an Association Director and has played in the orchestra continuously for 42 years. She first performed under the baton of beloved composer/conductor Arthur Lange. Innis has served as Association Secretary, for many years Wrote and produced the concert programs, and has worked diligently on every benefit/fundraiser. Innis is by profession a physical therapist. Innis received the 1993 Santa Monica YWCA WOMAN OF THE YEAR award for her volunteer service as Chair of the "Angel Tree" Project, a support group for children of parents in prison.
Violinist John Dunkelberger joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1993, after a long professional career in music. Early training in Chicago was followed by studies at the University of Nebraska and the University of Wichita (now Wichita State). More recently, he studied with Herman Clebanoff and Linda Rose in Los Angeles. He gained his professional experience in the Dallas Symphony, conducted by Walter Hendl where he was also privileged to play under guest conductors Bruno Walter, Antal Dorati and Sir Thomas Beecham. As an orchestra member, John has accompanied many legendary soloists, including Fritz Kreisler, Jasha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, William Kapell, and Artur Rubinstein. Currently he is a retired Financial Advisor (MBA from USC) and dabbles in various hobbies such as Astronomy, Photography, and playing Chamber Music with his wife, Elizabeth and other friends.
Liz Dunkelberger, wife of violinist John Dunkelberger, has played viola in the Santa Monica Symphony since 1993. She has played viola since childhood, and studied for 6 years at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. She has studied with Sven Reher, Myra Kestenbaum, Virginia Majevsky and Marilyn Baker. In professional life she is Elizabeth Galton, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Santa Monica. She is very active with the local, state and national psychiatric associations, and has held all elective positions in her local society. She is also active with the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute. She is active as an advocate for the severely mentally ill, working with various chapters of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and this year is president of the California Coalition for Mental Health, an advocacy organization. She is also active with the L.A.County Medical Association. In addition to orchestral playing, she also enjoys playing her viola with her husband and friends in chamber music.
Violinist Julie Tranner (left) joined the symphony in 1988. As a full time employee at the Getty Museum and mother of young twins, she is especially grateful for the chance to continue her music education via the symphony. In addition to playing the violin, she enjoys singing and playing the piano, and has worked as an accompanist to choral groups and soloists. She has also performed improvisational music with ensembles in local clubs and in recording studios.
Rhoda Coleman (center) joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1972. A violinist, she is so happy to be with such a friendly and talented group of musicians. Rhoda graduated from UC Berkeley in 1969 and got her teaching credential at Berkeley in 1970. She teaches a 3rd/4th grade class at the Open Charter School in Los Angeles. Rhoda enjoys traveling throughout the world with her husband and 2 daughters, attending opera and concerts as often as possible.
Violinist George Gilbert has played in the Santa Monica Symphony since 1990. A native of New York City, he played in the Queens Symphony, before moving to Southern California and playing in the Brentwood Symphony, Palisades Symphony, and the LA Doctor's Orchestra. Now retired, he earlier worked for the Chappell Music Publishing House (now Warner/Chappell) in New York, where he managed the Kurt Weill catalog.
Violist Erin Templeton joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1998 after attending Penn State University. While in Pennsylvania, Erin was the principal violist for the Nittany Valley Symphony. She also performed with the Altoona Symphony, the Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra, various ensembles at Penn State University, and the Music at Penn's Woods summer music festival. In addition, she was the assistant director of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra from 1992-1995. Erin graduated from Penn State University in 1995 with a B.A. in English, and minors in music and history; she completed her M.A. in English at Penn State in 1998, and she is currently working on her Ph. D. in early 20th Cent. American literature at UCLA.
Violist Adam Birnbaum joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1997 shortly after moving to Santa Monica from Chicago, where he played in the University of Chicago Symphony. Adam earned degrees in physics from Harvard and from SUNY Stony Brook, and he now works as a computer game programmer at Eight Cylinder Studios. In his free time, Adam enjoys cooking and gardening with his wife Angela, studying foreign languages (currently Spanish), and playing chamber music. In the rest of his free time, he tries to keep his 1977 Volvo running, pays bills and does dishes.
Romania violinist Elisabeth M. Cokolat studied violin with Mr. Brandeiss, a student of George Enescu. After attending a music high school, she studied Civil Engineering at the Institute of Technology in Hayfa-Israel, and Interior Design at Monterey Peninsula College-California. While working as an Interior Designer the last 20 years, she never gave up on her passion for music. She has played with the Bachorchestra in Munich-Germany, Monterey Peninsula College Symphony, Santa Barbara City College Symphony, West Coast Symphony, La Mirada Symphony and Santa Monica Symphony.
Violist Charles Brown joined the symphony in 1994. He works at Aurora Life and lives in the mid-Wilshire area. Also a violinist, Charles enjoys chamber music and plays regularly in a quartet with symphony members Adam Birnbaum, Sally Baack, and Francis Gaskins.
Violist Susie Pollock lives in Santa Monica Canyon and helps her film producer husband run his company, Peak Productions. Married for 25 years, they have three almost grown children and actually still like each other. Primarily a self-taught violist, Susie joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1998. Beyond that, as a British citizen, she feels that a lady should never discuss her past...
"RAND Musicians" Left to right. Violist Jennifer Wiggin, violist Edward Keating, violinist Mark Wang.
Jennifer Wiggin, a violist who to date has one performance with the Santa Monica Symphony under her belt, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Viola Performance from Texas Christian University, and a Master's of Music in Viola Performance from Indiana University. She attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival in 1994, and has played in the Abilene Philharmonic, Terre Haute Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Owensboro Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, and the Bloomington Symphony. She currently works as an assistant to the Director of the Center for the Study of Aging at RAND and presently resides in Century City. In addition to teaching viola and violin and playing chamber music, she enjoys playing volleyball on the beach at lunchtime, and playing tennis and spending time with friends on the weekends.
Violist Edward Keating joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1992, shortly after begining work at the RAND Corporation as an economist. His research interests include studying government financial and accounting organizations. Before moving to Southern California, Ed studied applied mathematics at Northwestern University and completed graduate studies in economics at Stanford University. Ed was a member of the Illinois All-State high school orchestra, and he continued his orchestral participation through college. An avid runner and bicyclist, Ed recently undertook a weeklong bicycle tour of Utah and Arizona, and has run several 5/10k races and marathons.
Violinist Mark Wang, a policy analyst for the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, joined the Santa Monica Symphony in 1995, after being invited to the December 1994 concert by RAND colleague Ed Keating. Mark holds degrees in physics and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). An accomplished pianist as well as a violinist, Mark performed Saint-SaÎns' Second Piano Concerto in 1982 with the Lawton Philharmonic in Lawton, Oklahoma; baritone Robert Merrill was featured on the same program. Mark and his wife, Sally, enjoy cooking and hosting "dinner and duets" evenings for friends. Mark admires those Santa Monica Symphony members with long tenures, and he hopes to be involved with the orchestra for many years.
The Kaplan Quartet (l-r: Sonia Luna, Paul Dolid, Jennifer Argenti, Carol Summers). Composed entirely of symphony members, the Kaplan Quartet has played for weddings, private parties, and special occasions at The Broadway department stores. The quartet's repertoire is varied, including selections from Bach to Scott Joplin to the Toyota theme song.
Violinist Sonia Luna joined the symphony in 1988. She works at UCLA in financial planning despite having an MBA from USC. Her undergraduate degree is in mathematics from the University of Kentucky. She is an avid college basketball fan, but most enjoys hosting chamber music dinner parties for her musician friends from the Santa Monica Symphony. She frequently spends time with fellow symphony members John and Liz Dunkelberger and her boyfriend, Paul Dolid, playing string quartets. Sonia assists the orchestra in publicizing its concerts and assists Mark Wang in maintaining the symphony's Web Page.
Cellist Paul Dolid was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and presently resides in Culver City, in a bungalow near the Culver Studios once inhabited by one of the Little Rascals, Paul attended the University of California at Riverside, where he majored in economics and business, and spent his junior abroad at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He works for the Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. Besides music, Paul's hobbies include photography, investing, chess, golf, and computers.
A native of Maryland, violinist Jennifer Argenti attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and studied violin performance at Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio. Currently she is taking classes in environmental studies and Chinese. An animal ]over, she is active in local animal rights groups. Jennifer has attended chamber music camp at Colorado's Rocky Ridge Music Center.
Violist Carol Summers graduated from California State University at Northridge with a degree in viola performance. This is her second season with the Santa Monica Symphony. Carol works for UNUM America as a claims adjuster, specializing in long-term disability. In addition to her musical activities, she enjoys playing tennis and bicycling. A native of Pasadena, she shares a house there with two roommates, two rabbits, a bird, and two cats.
The SAMOSO WOODWIND QUINTET is comprised of the assistant principal players of the Santa Monica Symphony. This ensemble is part of the outreach program of the joint efforts of the SMSO and the Santa Monica Arts Council to bring live music to children of all ages in schools, churches, and organizations of any kind in the city of Santa Monica and eventually to extend to the entire Los Angeles area.
Tara Speiser - Bassoon Bassoonist Tara is active interpreter of contemporary music delivering numerous premieres in California of works by young composers. As a chamber musician, she has appeared internationally with a wide variety of ensembles including the CALARTS New Century Players, the Barati Chamber Players and the Antiquarian Funks as well as on the 9 Wind Records CD, Chamber Music for Winds. Since moving to Los Angeles since 1991 for graduate study with Julie Feves at California of the Arts, Speiser has performed with the Santa Monica Symphony as well as with numerous chamber ensembles and orchestras in the Los Angeles area. An active teacher, Tara is an instrumental instructor in the Newhall Elementary District, Santa Clarita Community College Youth Orchestra Program, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Education Project, and the CALARTS Community Arts Partnership Program.
Melissa Hendrickson - French Horn BM Cal State Fullerton MM U.S.C. Melissa has been playing with the Santa Monica Symphony since 1994. She studied with Vincent DeRosa and Todd Miller. Melissa was a member of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra under the baton of Lalo Schifirin. Melissa was principal horn in the Pacific Symphony Institute Orchestra and the Four Seasons Symphony. Other experiences include Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Long Beach Opera, Inland Empire Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Torrance Symphony, Antelope Valley Symphony, Antelope Valley Master Chorale and several civic light operas in L.A. and Orange Counties. As a horn player Melissa enjoys being able to play in both woodwind and brass quintets and gets her share of both from the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and her other quintet Chezlik Brass.
Charla A. Gulino - Flute BM, MM Manhattan School of Music. Charla has studied with Julius Baker, Thomas Nyfenger, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and currently with David Shostac. Charla was a Young Concert Artist winner and has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and in many concert halls including Carnegie Hall. Ms. Gulino can be heard on CDs, films, and commercials. Charla is currently a member of the Santa Monica Symphony and the Ventura Chamber Orchestra as well as free-lancing here in southern California. She has also played with the Los Angeles Ballet ,the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra and many other local orchestras. Charla has toured the United States and Europe over 10 times as soloist and orchestra member.
Holly Patterson - Oboe BM USC. Holly has studied with William Criss, Terry Row and Peter Christ. As a member of the USC Woodwind Quintet, Holly was a co-winner of the top prize awarded to a wind group at the Coleman Chamber Music Auditions. Holly has appeared as a soloist with orchestras touring Costa Rica, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Poland. A native of California, Holly has been a free-lance oboist throughout the southern California area for the past twenty years. She can also be heard on classical, pop, and rock CDs. In addition to her free-lance work, Ms. Patterson regularly plays with the Santa Monica Symphony, and can be heard weekly on the Hour Power/Crystal Cathedral International television program.
Lea Steffens - Clarinet BM Cal State Long Beach, MM UCLA. Lea has been an active freelance clarinetist and studio teacher in Los Angeles and Orange Counties for ten years. She has studied with Gary Gray, Gary Bovyer and David Atkins. Lea is a regular member of the LA Jewish Symphony and the UCLA Gluck Foundation Woodwind Quintet. She can also be heard on several films and CD recordings in addition to performing with various orchestras and musical groups including the Long Beach Municipal Band. Currently, Lea also teaches in the music department at UCLA where she is completing her DMA.
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